With carbon dioxide emissions poised to rise to record highs in 2023 and global average temperatures potentially reaching above the 1.5°C tipping point in the next five years, the climate crisis has never been more salient.
Some time in the 2030s, it is projected, the global average temperature will have increased from pre-industrial levels by 1.5°C. For South Africa to avoid the multi-year droughts, severe heatwaves and extreme weather events expected to accompany this change, greenhouse gas emissions need to be radically reduced -- and soon.
It should be concerning then that the International Energy Agency (IEA) this week announced that "full and timely implementation of the economic recovery measures announced to date would result in CO2 emissions climbing to record levels in 2023, continuing to rise thereafter".
At the same time, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), a specialised agency of the United Nations, has predicted that it is increasingly likely that the annual average global temperature will temporarily reach 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels in at least one of the next five years.
The IEA's Sustainable Recovery Tracker report notes that, of the estimated $16-trillion in fiscal support marshalled by governments aimed at stabilising and rebuilding their economies in the...